Private equity impact investment fund, Ocean 14 Capital Fund, entered into an investment agreement with AquaExchange, an aquaculture technology and fintech platform that leverages data analytics to deliver e-commerce, farm automation and market linkage solutions for aquaculture farmers, allowing a significant dial-up of sustainability transformation as well as benefits to both customer and seafood farmers.
Under the agreement, the fund will invest $3 million through the PHT platform, an investment vehicle aimed at delivering technologies to the shrimp industry to drive sustainability, which will act as the lead investor.
The investment is primarily to provide working capital that will allow AquaExchange, which has already raised $3 million in seed funding in 2021 from investors including Endiya Partners and Accion Venture Lab, to accelerate growth in India and expand its operations to Vietnam and Ecuador, while also further developing its product portfolio.
Founded by Pavan Kosaraju in 2020 and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), AquaExchange, currently automates approx. 34,000 acres of shrimp farming operations in India, equivalent to 12% of the industry.
In 2020, the company launched PowerMon, the world’s first patented power management technology that provides farmers with complete farm power monitoring and aeration control through the convenience of a mobile app; and AquaBot, the shrimp industry’s only moving auto-feeder that has been deployed at scale, allowing driving efficiency in farm feeding operations which represent.
“Pavan and his 20 plus team have managed to take a very significant market share of the Indian shrimp market in just a couple of years, by providing simple but robust technology to farmers that have an immediate impact on production while starting to develop datasets and farm insights that can support farmers access to credit,” said Piers Lakin, senior associate of the fund’s investment adviser, Ocean 14 Capital.
The company operates across the value chain starting with a patented ‘Hardware-as-a-Service’ model on subscription basis that allows for and 24 hours seven days a week remote farm monitoring and automated feeding under the brand name NextAqua, and has expended to become a fintech enabled e-commerce platform that offers high quality inputs at best prices directly from manufacturers.
The third part of the company’s full-stack offering is ‘Harvest-as-a-Service’, a market linkage platform that facilitates harvests at the farm gate with transparent pricing and assured spot payments to the smallholder farmers.
“AquaExchange is committed to transforming the aquaculture farming process through the use of advanced technology. We plan to refine and scale our unique reinforcement framework, wherein farmers are immediately incentivized for sustainable practices through reduced input costs and higher offtake prices, emphasizing our commitment to sustainable practices in the industry,” said Pavan Kosaraju, CEO at AquaExchange. “With this funding round, we aim to equip many more aquaculture farmers with the right technology to reduce costs and increase productivity while enabling global protein sustainability”.
AquaExchange has partnered with various players in the ecosystem such as hatcheries, feed mills, medicine and equipment manufacturers, processing companies, and banks to provide these services. It has also developed innovative solutions such as self-test Vibrio kits, prebiotics, probiotics, and traceability systems in collaboration with other partners such as HiMedia, Karyotica, Imkuraq, and WholeChain.
“All of this has allowed AquaExchange to establish a strong foothold in Indian shrimp aquaculture, providing a solid platform for further expansion and we love the fact there are potential synergies with our first investment SyAqua, which is rapidly growing its presence in India. We are excited about the significant boost to sustainability transformation this technology will allow,” added Ocean 14 Capital’s Lakin.